As is tradition, the Red Sox’ final offer to Xander Bogaerts was depressingly low
December 8th, 2022
This may come as a shock to you, but the Boston Red Sox’ final offer to Xander Bogaerts wasn’t even close to the one made by the San Diego Padres – among other teams.
That is of course a bit of SARCASM. As dejected Red Sox fans have long expected, Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom and Red Sox brass have let Bogaerts slip away, after their contract offers fell disappointingly short of the competition. Bogaerts has agreed to an 11-year, $280 million deal with the San Diego Padres, a much-understood cash-in for the veteran All-Star shortstop, who will never have to worry about negotiating a new deal again.
To be certain, the term of the deal with the Padres is positively outrageous. The Red Sox’ ultimate offer to Bogaerts, understandably, wasn’t close to that. The real mistake was that they didn’t make their same offer back in the spring.
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The final offer, as reported by Alex Speier and Peter Abraham at the Boston Globe, was six years and “roughly” $162 million, or $27 million per season. Beyond reasonable for a player entering his age-31 season who may not play shortstop for much longer – in a vacuum. Unfortunately, the Red Sox saved that offer for the Winter Meetings, and so it looked insulting by comparison to the Padres. The money difference left Bogaerts with “zero choice,” as he reportedly told a friend.
It wasn’t just the Padres willing to extend themselves for Bogaerts. According to Speier and Abraham, “three or four” other teams viewed Bogaerts as a $200 million player.
But again, the problem wasn’t that the Red Sox were unwilling to compete with the offers made at the Winter Meetings. It’s that they let it get to that point in the first place.
Remember that the Red Sox’ springtime offer to Bogaerts was the biggest insult of them all. They offered him a four-year deal for $90 million, which amounted to a one-year, $30 million extension, because he was already under contract for three years and $60M with an opt-out after 2022.
Instead, we’re telling the same old story all over again. The Red Sox lowballed yet another homegrown star and beloved sports figure in the city. Question now is whether they go out and overpay for a replacement. Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson ARE still out there, after all.
Oct 22, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) looks on in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros during game six of the 2021 ALCS at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Despite all this, perhaps the Red Sox didn’t want to re-sign Bogaerts in the first place. Then it’s a bad look that they carried on this campaign of making Bogaerts their top priority, while most onlookers didn’t believe that spin anyway. They’d save some face if they were honest about it from the beginning, and instead spun it as Bogaerts no longer being worth the money after crossing age 30.
There’s not much of an avenue for the team to save face now, regardless of their true underlying intentions. Barring a surprise spending spree on upgrades, and a winning season to follow, this is the latest in a long series of bad looks by the Boston front office. And this is not to heap too much blame on Bloom. This approach goes back as far as Larry Lucchino.
End of the day, the only way to deodorize this off-season is to win. No amount of free-agent spending will matter if it doesn’t translate to the Red Sox returning to World Series contention. Any longtime Red Sox fan, though, should resist urges to support the team financially until they prove they have restored that level of success.
Because if they continue to pack Fenway Park on a nightly basis and print money like they have for two decades, John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group won’t learn that they shouldn’t be able to get away with this. It’s up to the fans to tell them they can’t.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.